Continental Air Services, Inc
|Commenced operations||September 1965|
|Operating bases||Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Vientiane Airport, Laos, Singapore Changi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport and Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, Tan Son Nhut Airport, South Vietnam|
|Fleet size||See Fleet below|
|Parent company||Continental Airlines|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California , United States|
Continental Air Services, Inc, better known as CASI, was a subsidiary airline of Continental Airlines set up to provide operations and airlift support in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. CASI was formed as the South-East Asia Division of Continental in April 1965 with operations starting in September 1965 using approximately 22, mainly STOL, aircraft. Contintental paid over a million US dollars for BirdAir (Bird and Sons) and its 350 employees and 22 aircraft. CASI aircraft in Laos were registered as Air Continental. As of 1998 CASI still operated in the Pacific Islands.
CASI, as a Nevada Corporation, was officially located at One East First Street, Reno, Nevada but its headquarters was located at 7300 World Way West, Los Angeles, California. CASI maintained Overseas Offices in Bangkok Thailand, Vientiane (Laos), & Saigon (South Vietnam). CASI’s Southeast Asia headquarters was in Udorn, Thailand with operations bases at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Vientiane, Laos, Singapore, Bangkok and Udorn, Thailand and Saigon, Vietnam.
CASI’s original purpose was to operate aircraft and ground facilities to support projects involving construction, oil exploration and engineering companies as well as contracts with USAID and other government agencies.
Initially CASI uniforms were locally made khaki uniforms which were manufactured in different parts of Laos, Thailand or Vietnam. Some shirts are 2-pocket, others are 4-pocket safari-type jackets. Later CASI uniforms consisted of white shirts and black trousers. Most CASI pilots were issued the baseball cap. A few of the early CASI pilots were issued the "bus driver" hat. Wings were both US-made and Laotian-made and were worn in Vietnam but not in Laos.
"I was with CASI from 12/1968 to 12/1970. My home was in Vientiane, Laos for that period of time. The company uniform, while I was there, was military style khakis with military style black "jump" boots. We were issued baseball caps with a CASI logo and our wings were embroidered fabric that I believe were the same as Continental Airlines flight crew wings. I still have both my First Officer and my Captains wings." - Howard (Duke) Morton
CASI/Bird Air were known to operate the following aircraft:
- Beech 18
- Beech Baron
- Beech D50C Twin Bonanza
- Bell 47G-3B-1 Sioux
- Bell 205
- Bell 206A JetRanger
- Camair Twin Navion, a Ryan Navion converted by Cameron Aircraft Co
- Cessna 180
- Cessna 206
- Curtiss C-46
- De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300
- Dornier Do 28A-1 & B-1
- Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain
- Douglas DC-6A/B
- Fairchild Hiller FH-1100
- Helio 395 Super Courier
- Lockheed PV-2 Ventura
- Lockheed L-100-20 Hercules
- Pilatus PC-6 Porter & Turbo Porter
- Piper PA-18 Super Cub
- Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer Series 2
- Short SC.7-3-200 Skyvan
Total fleet: 37 to 45 aircraft by 1976
CASI occasionally leased its assets to others such as:
- P.6 Wings of Air America, A Photo History by Terry Love
- Martin Best, The CIA’s Airlines: Logistic Air Support of the War in Laos 1954 to 1975, Martin Best - Air-America.Org. 2002.